Monday, December 29, 2008

CESARE at the beach gets a bitty bravo (Clearwater Beach, FL)

Our first night of several in Florida this winter was spent on the gulf coast east of Tampa in Clearwater Beach. Our hotel concierge recommended CESARE ( down the street as "the best Italian" on the beach. Of course, after long thought, the remaining Italian places here tend to be pizza parlors!

The decor is nothing special, but like most of the folks here, the service is efficient and very friendly.

Samuel was in a spaghetti and meatball mood and after half a huge child portion, called it quits without even dessert.

Our server Chad (he hated his name) recommended an excellent Sicilian Syrah, but sadly I lost my notes and also the exact name! DAMN! It was jammy, earthy and a treat. Will felt like ordering a plate of bruschetta, which I never do, but I said I would split it. The 4 pieces alternated from soggy to brittle bread and it was a shame as the topping was full of fresh tomato and tasty. There was also an heavily herbed oil for the bread which Sam and we all loved adored. SACATINI was a pasta type I had never heard of before, and these small purses of pasta with melted cheese inside were superb with pancetta and mushrooms in a light cream VODKA Sauce with peas. Will and I split the dish which was perfect for splitting and a truly delish dish. We both had Veal for the entrees and it was a winning meat choice. Will went for the SALTIMBOCCA rolled with prosciutto and cheese and nicely done, but my huge VEAL CHOP in a Brandy-Cream Sauce was divine. As is wont in Florida everything comes with huge sides and here it was potatoes and zucchini. After all this we were so full we headed right back to the hotel and three of us crashed after the long trip down and a long day.

Sorry, I lost my's driving me nuts as we also had a nice NEBBIOLO d'ALBA for the second bottle as well.